DepositLate Qing parliamentarism and the borderlands of the Qing Empire—Mongolia, Tibet, and Xinjiang (1906–1911)

The article examines the relationship between the late Qing constitutional movement of 1905–1911 and the vast borderland regions of the Qing Empire–that is, Mongolia, Tibet, and Xinjiang. It traces how intellectuals and officials concerned with devising constitutional policies foresaw the integration of these regions into the nascent parliamentary institutions at the provincial and central levels. The article argues that the status of the borderlands played a significant role in late Qing constitutional debates, and that debates on borderland constitutionalism were a phenomenon of a wider constitutional wave affecting Eurasia in the 1900s. Chinese intellectuals and officials felt the competition of the emerging parliamentary institutions in Russia and the Ottoman Empire, and anticipating that constitutional and parliamentarist movements among Mongols, Tibetans, and Turki could lead to the separation of the respective regions, they hoped that parliamentary representation, albeit limited, would be an instrument against centrifugal tendencies on the borders. Hence, they called for constitutional reforms in China and for the inclusion of the borderland populations into the new parliamentary institutions. Yet, arguing with the sparse population of the borderlands as well as with their alleged economic and cultural backwardness, they denied the direct application of the constitutional plan to these territories. The differentiated policies eventually applied to the borderlands were a lackluster compromise between these conflicting interests.


Parliaments are often seen as institutions peculiar to the Euro-American world. In contrast, their establishment elsewhere is frequently thought of as a derivative and mostly defective process. Such simplistic tales of unilateral and imperfect transfers of knowledge have led to a suboptimal understanding of non-Western experiences, as well as of their contribution to the shaping of the global political landscape of the modern world. The present volume challenges Eurocentric visions by retracing the evolution of modern institutions of collective decision-making in Eurasia, more specifically in the Russian/Soviet, Qing/Chinese, Japanese, and Ottoman/Turkish cases. It argues that, over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, intellectuals and political actors across Eurasia used indigenous as well as foreign elements to shape their versions of parliamentary institutions for their own political purposes. It was through the creative agency of these often understudied actors that representative institutions have acquired a wide range of meanings throughout Eurasia and become a near-ubiquitous element of modern statehood.

DepositDuma, yuan, and beyond: Conceptualizing parliaments and parliamentarism in and after the Russian and Qing Empires

The chapter focuses on two new institutions, the State Duma (Gosudarstvennaia duma) and Political Consultative Council (Zizhengyuan), which were introduced in the Russian and Qing Empires, when the two imperial formations joined the global constitutional transformations. The names of the two bodies pointed to the statist (etatist) rather than popular connotations of the new institutions. Furthermore, the State Duma and the Zizhengyuan were often explicitly distinguished from a Western parliament, even though the latter as a generalized notion was undoubtedly the main point of reference during the attempted imperial modernizations. Seeking to expand the current debate on the conceptual history of parliamentarism by including non-European histories, this chapter charts the genealogies of the two terms and positions them in the discussions of parliamentarism during the modernizations of the Russian and Qing Empires and during the post-imperial settlements.

DepositThe assembly of the land (zemskii sobor): Historiographies and mythologies of a Russian “parliament”

Focusing on the term zemskii sobor, this study explored the historiographies of the early modern Russian assemblies, which the term denoted, as well as the autocratic and democratic mythologies connected to it. Historians have debated whether the individual assemblies in the sixteenth and seventeenth century could be seen as a coherent institution, what constituencies were represented there, what role they played in the relations of the Tsar with his subjects, and if they were similar to the early modern assemblies elsewhere. The growing historiographic consensus does not see the early modern Russian assemblies as a coherent institution. In the nineteenth–early twentieth century, history writing and myth-making integrated the zemskii sobor into the argumentations of both the opponents and the proponents of parliamentarism in Russia. The autocratic mythology, advanced by the Slavophiles in the second half of the nineteenth century, proved more coherent yet did not achieve the recognition from the Tsars. The democratic mythology was more heterogeneous and, despite occasionally fading to the background of the debates, developed for some hundred years between the 1820s and the 1920s. Initially, the autocratic approach to the zemskii sobor was idealistic, but it became more practical at the summit of its popularity during the Revolution of 1905–1907, when the zemskii sobor was discussed by the government as a way to avoid bigger concessions. Regionalist approaches to Russia’s past and future became formative for the democratic mythology of the zemskii sobor, which persisted as part of the romantic nationalist imagery well into the Civil War of 1918–1922. The zemskii sobor came to represent a Russian constituent assembly, destined to mend the post-imperial crisis. The two mythologies converged in the Priamur Zemskii Sobor, which assembled in Vladivostok in 1922 and became the first assembly to include the term into its official name.

DepositPlanting Parliaments in Eurasia, 1850–1950: Concepts, Practices, and Mythologies

Parliaments are often seen as Western European and North American institutions and their establishment in other parts of the world as a derivative and mostly defective process. This book challenges such Eurocentric visions by retracing the evolution of modern institutions of collective decision-making in Eurasia. Breaching the divide between different area studies, the book provides nine case studies covering the area between the eastern edge of Asia and Eastern Europe, including the former Russian, Ottoman, Qing, and Japanese Empires as well as their successor states. In particular, it explores the appeals to concepts of parliamentarism, deliberative decision-making, and constitutionalism; historical practices related to parliamentarism; and political mythologies across Eurasia. It focuses on the historical and “reestablished” institutions of decision-making, which consciously hark back to indigenous traditions and adapt them to the changing circumstances in imperial and postimperial contexts. Thereby, the book explains how representative institutions were needed for the establishment of modernized empires or postimperial states but at the same time offered a connection to the past.

Deposit«Где Гитлер?”. Повторное расследование НКВД (МВД) СССР обстоятельств исчезновения Адольфа Гитлера (1945-1949)». М.: РОССПЭН, 2016

This book is about an unusual police investigation, in which a certain suicide, found in the bunker of the Imperial Chancellery, as it should be before the establishment of the truth, was called “victim”. This is a story about the work of Stalin’s special services in Germany, about palace intrigues and the hopes of people who imagined at the end of 1945 that “Hitler is alive” and who unsuccessfully tried to find traces of his escape. The book is based on the materials of the case of the NKVD / Ministry of Internal Affairs of the USSR “Myth”, preserved in the funds of the State Archives of the Russian Federation and declassified in the early 1990s.